Bob Hellman

Politicians, family and friends remembered Vigo County Councilman Robert “Bob” Hellmann for his community service and consensus-building political career during a church service Saturday.

More than 260 people attended the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Benedict Church in Terre Haute, more than 60 years after the Vigo County councilman was baptized there. Several of Hellmann’s family members helped honor his memory.

Some Wabash Valley politicians, including Vigo County Clerk Pat Mansard and state Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, attended the service, which included a visitation staged before the service.

Prior to the beginning of the mass, several people paused to look at two green boards set up in the church’s center aisle and two more near the entrance that included pictures of the Hellmann.

At the beginning of the service, Hellmann’s casket, which was open for the visitation, was closed and moved to the center aisle in front of the altar.

Hellmann’s brother, the Rev. Wayne Hellmann, presided over the mass.

During the homily, he told the audience that Bob believed politicians should not care about who gets credit for solving problems “if they really, truly work for the common good of the whole community.”

The mass began with the song “Amazing Grace,” and included a musical version of the “Prayer of St. Francis.” Francis was Bob Hellmann’s middle name.

Jerry Hellmann, another of Bob’s brothers, gave the eulogy. He told the crowd that his brother was concerned by a report that indicated Vigo County had the highest poverty rate in the state.

“… And he knew he didn’t have time to help fix it,” Jerry said.

Jerry added that Bob helped obtain consensus. He said that Bob had a sign with the words “truth, tolerance, trust” in his office.

“Bob saw his role as a political leader to help people talk to each other,” Jerry said.

At the end of the 90-minute service, six men wheeled Bob Hellmann’s casket away from the altar, down the aisle to the back of the church. It went first, with the service attendants pouring out from their seats and filling the center aisle behind the casket.

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or austin.arceo@tribstar.com.

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